This Is Not A Toy
American singer Pharrell Williams has co-curated some of his favourite design-enhanced toys and playful interactive artworks to showcase at the Design Exchange museum in Toronto, formerly the city’s stock exchange. The exhibition hall has been turned into a colourful escape for visitors to get lost in more than a dozen artists' and designers’ interpretations of the toy theme, from Welsh artist Pete Fowler to Japan’s Misaki Kawai. The latter’s tactile, comb-able fur paintings remind visitors that although the show takes its name from the standard disclaimer on the packaging of collectible figurines, a sense of fun remains at the core.
Design Exchange, 234 Bay Street. Open Monday to Wednesday, 10.00-17.00; Thursday, 10.00-20.00; Friday to Saturday, 10.00-17.00; Sunday 12.00-17.00. Until 19 May.
ART: HONG KONG
White Cube gallery in Hong Kong’s latest exhibition, Evian, marks Danish-born painter Sergej Jensen’s first show in Asia. Jensen combines physical techniques such as layering, charring, and sewing with an unconventional use of acrylic paint to stand in for traditional methods of painting. Known for his textile works, Jensen uses a variety of fabrics (such as hessian, linen and wool) and also recycles materials, tearing older fabrics and transferring them to new works. Although the results are mostly small in scale with a subdued palette, Jensen manages to create arresting yet minimal pieces through his unconventional imagination.
White Cube, 50 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11.00-19.00. Until 22 March.
If the World Changed
This weekend is the last chance to catch the fourth edition of the Singapore Biennale. With a theme of If the World Changed, contemporary artists from Singapore and southeast Asia have been pondering the what-ifs of their region – historically the corridor of major civilisations (China to the east and India to the West). Eighty-two works created by a team of 27 artists are on display across nine sites in the Bras Basah and Bugis neighbourhoods. Don’t miss Burmese artist Nge Lay’s “The Sick Classroom”, a life-sized installation of a village lesson complete with students and teacher. This moment suspended in time highlights the grey area between teaching and political indoctrination, both of which can happen in the most innocuous of settings.
At venues across Singapore. See website for details. Until 16 February.
The Serco Prize for Illustration 2014: London Stories
If you love exploring London then make your way to the London Transport Museum this weekend for the opening of the London Stories exhibit, featuring 50 of the best entries selected from over 1,200 works entered into The Serco Prize for Illustration 2014. The illustrations range from well-known to obscure London narratives, from Eric Chow’s surreal imagery depicting the female workforce that helped build Waterloo Bridge to a monkey jazz band whose members – apparently entirely truthfully – escaped into Notting Hill back in 1927. The latter drawn by Gill Bradley has taken first prize in the competition and will be shown later on around the London Underground.
The London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza.
Open Monday to Sunday 10.00-18.00, except Fridays 11.00-18.00. Until 6 April.
Marissa Nadler: July
Yes, July might not be quite the right month to evoke during much of the world’s most wintry weeks but beyond that title, perma-serene US folk artist Marissa Nadler’s latest collection is still a forebodingly chilly affair. This album’s clutch of gothic country tunes appear to be all, without fail, tales of doomed romance (unless songs such as “Was It A Dream” or “Nothing In My Heart” are about something else?) But armed with a truly one-off voice that’s part ghostly whisper, part angelic serenade wrapping itself around 11 beautifully lonesome ballads, Marissa Nadler’s July is actually icy as it gets.
‘July’ is available to buy now.